What Wears You Down? Perfectionism?

by Joan C Webb on September 10, 2012

One definition of perfectionism (or striving too hard to make it just right) is “the theory that moral, religious, or social perfection can be attained by mortals.” (Yikes!)

It’s merely a theory, yet some of us have lived like we believe this notion—and it’s worn us down. This morning I admitted to myself that I’m feeling a little “worn down” again, so I pulled my devotional book, It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life, from the shelf hoping to get a little “relief” from the author, Joan C. Webb!! Here’s what I read:

  • Do you get impatient inside when a loved one’s behavior doesn’t meet your expectations? I admit, I have.
  • Are you secretly certain that your ideas are best? No comment.
  • Do you ever berate yourself for having unspiritual thoughts and feelings? Well, yes. Hmmmm. I guess that’s what I’ve been doing the last few months.  
  • Have you ever wanted to hide when you made a mistake? Duh! 
  • Do you avoid situations and conversations that put you at risk for doing it “wrong”? I admit it. I have a tendency to squelch my own voice. 

See why I call myself a “recovering perfectionist”?

Relief comes my way when I accept (not just nod at) this truth: God is perfect. I’m not. Paul writes in Romans 3:22-23 that no matter who you are or what you’ve done, it doesn’t matter—everyone is unsuccessful at measuring up to God’s perfect standards. We misinterpret His flawless ways and lack what it takes to possess the grandeur and faultless character of God. We all need God’s redemptive love. In this truth, we’re released to cease striving and accept God’s mercy and rest.

I’m so relieved I don’t have to keep up a facade of handling my life, work/ministry, relationships and my faith  ”just right.” God’s the perfect one. Not me.

My shoulders just relaxed.

Okay, I’m curious: how do you respond to any of the above questions highlighted in yellow? 

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